VCs join fintech gold rush

VCs join fintech gold rush

There has been a surge in venture funding for fintech firms over the last six months, culminating in a number of big bets in July, according to data from CrunchBase.

CrunchBase gathered all tech-related venture rounds from July and found that financial services was the category with the biggest boost in activity, recording a 30% increase in the six month moving average.

There were 16 financial services funding rounds in July, a 60% increasing on the average of the previous six months, bumping the moving average from 10 to 13 a month.

It is not just the number of rounds that is impressive, but also the size of some. AvantCredit, a Chicago-based online consumer lender, scored the biggest injection of cash last month, raising $75 million in a series c funding round led by Tiger Global Management. Meanwhile, UK-based online marketplace for business loans, Funding Circle, picked up $65 million.

That lenders are attracting so much money suggests a shift may be under way in the type of fintech firms VCs are going after. Recent CrunchBase data shows that the once dominant payment industry is losing its lustre for investors, with the number of venture-backed payments companies declining from a high of 59 startups in the third quarter of 2013 to just 41 in the second quarter of 2014.

CrunchBase says that the latest figures show that a "new market is starting to emerge: FinTech". This is backed by separate data from CB Insights, which shows that fintech deal activity by the world's biggest venture capital firms grew 61% between 2010 and 2013.

According to Accenture, overall global fintech investment tripled between 2008 and 2013 from $928 million to $2.97 billion and is expected to double again to between $6 billion and $8 billion by 2018.

This week an industry body, Innovate Finance, launched to help promote the UK as the global centre for the burgeoning market, securing backing from the government as it seeks to beat out Silicon Valley, New York and the Far East to become the place to do fintech business.

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